Panasonic SDR-S100

Panasonic SDR-S100
  • Panasonic SDR-S100
  • Panasonic SDR-S100
  • Panasonic SDR-S100
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Compact, incredibly easy to use


  • Poor night shot mode, short optical zoom, expensive

Bottom Line

A fun, compact and easy to use camera but with an expensive price tag

Would you buy this?

Positioned at the high end of Panasonic's new range of video camcorders is the SDR-S100, billed as the the smallest video camera of its type in the world. The SDR-S100 is one of the new wave of video cameras that write data to SD cards, hence its reduced size. However, not only is the camcorder minute, it's attractively designed and easy to use.


The camera is well designed and using the SDR-S100 is a joy. Its lightweight and compact frame makes it easy to hold and a pleasure to carry. Despite the camera's sleek lines, Panasonic has placed the controls in an intuitive fashion making the S100 easy to control. The widescreen 2.8 inch LCD is clear and bright, even in direct sunlight. The SD card slot is conveniently placed behind a flap on the underside of the unit and the front of the unit conceals a convenient pop up flash. Throughout our extensive testing of the camera we could not find one fault with its design and the SDR-S100 is perhaps the most intuitive video camera we have ever used.


This ease of use is carried through to the on-screen menu system. The SDR-S100 offers a fairly basic set of functions and as such, controlling them through the menu is simple. All the essential options such as wind reduction for the microphone, digital zoom and night shot modes are included, though we found night shot to be disappointing. The enhanced colour mode made the picture much brighter at low light levels but the resulting reduction in frame rate made it all but useless. The digital zoom was extremely useful as the SDR-S100 is only equipped with a 10x optical. The camera offers two digital zoom modes, one of which is rated up to 25x zoom and the other up to 700x. The 700x is definitely overkill, with such a distorted image as to make the picture indecipherable, but the 25x zoom mode was much better, and we found it useful.

The video quality, while not up to the standard of the best Mini DV or DVD camcorders, is definitely acceptable. The SDR-S100 ships with a 2GB Panasonic SD card, which is good for still picture standards but less so for video. At the highest quality available on the camera 2GB equates to approximately half an hour of video. The video is encoded in MPEG-2 format and can then be transferred to PC or displayed on a television. Although the camera records in widescreen the videos are actually encoded in standard 4:3 format, which is slightly disappointing. Video footage generally appeared smooth, crisp and bright, but there was definite evidence of compression across large blocks of colour, particular darker shades.

Still Images
The SDR-S100 also has the advantage of 3.1 megapixel still picture recording. Though the quality lags behind still cameras which generally include 5 megapixel sensors and above, for a video camera it's pretty good. If you wanted to leave behind your separate digital still camera and purely use the SDR-S100, it would cope. With a built in flash, red eye reduction, macro modes and manual focus, the camera is also fairly well equipped.

Overall the SDR-S100 is an impressive package. Its small size combined with decent performance and intuitive controls makes it an ideal purchase for anyone seeking a compact camcorder. However, we feel its high cost is a major factor to consider. At this price we would usually expect a camera with far better quality video recording and a longer optical zoom. This is the trade off that is made for size and if you want the smallest size around then this is a great buy.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?